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Busting the myths of salesforce.org

With Lianne McGrory UK & Ireland Country Manager at salesforce.org and Rob Dobell Managing Director at Hart Square.

At Hart Square, we provide a range of guidance and support services exclusively to non-profits who are considering changes to their technology. Our advice is completely technology-agnostic and to help our clients make the right choices for them, we make it a priority to keep in close touch with the many organisations which can offer solutions to the non-profit sector, including salesforce.org.  

Whilst salesforce.org is one of the best-known CRM systems, and we consider it to be a strong proposition for non-profits, we have found that sector has not embraced it to the extent we might expect.  

With that in mind, last month Rob Dobell, Managing Director at Hart Square was joined on an expert panel by Lianne McGrory, UK & Ireland Country Manager at salesforce.org. They tackled some of the most common questions that they hear from non-profits and busted some of the myths around salesforce.org. 

Salesforce have had a specific non-profit offering for the last 11 years  

Salesforce.org, previously the Salesforce Foundation, have had a specific non-profit offering for the last 11 years, Lianne explained. “This is a pre-built package on top of Salesforce technology, built specifically for non-profits, speaking their language, and built to follow their processes.” 

Philanthropy has been at the heart of Salesforce since its inception, when it was set up with the 1-1-1 model in which 1% of the Salesforce technology, income and volunteer time would go back into the non-profit sector. As part of this model of giving back, Salesforce.org provide 10 free licences to any charity in the world. Lianne explained that of the 3,500 organisations in the UK and Ireland which use Salesforce technology, 65% are using their free licences.  

As the client, you do not need to have huge amounts of technical knowledge  

Rob and Lianne explained that a common misconception of implementing a Salesforce solution is that, in addition to the implementation partner, you need lots of client-side technical knowledge. Rob explained that this is not the case, but you do need to be able to describe what you need from the technology. Additionally, you may want to provide some form of training for your team to ensure you can get the best out of the solution.  

Understanding the costs and complexity 

There is still some perception that it is difficult to calculate the full cost of a Salesforce.org project. Rob and Lianne explain that at the early stages of any change project, you should work out your goals for the project and gather a clear set of requirements. At the end of the discovery phase, you will be able to solidify the scope of the project with associated costs and timelines. Rob details that it is important to be disciplined throughout the project, holding new ideas for later developments, to ensure you can protect both your time and budget.  

Lianne also added, that if you have chosen Salesforce technology and you are concerned about costs and complexity, it is important to voice your concerns with the Salesforce team as there may be ways to cap, limit or predict changes in costs over time.  

Hart Square’s Definitive Guide to Salesforce for non-profits 

At Hart Square, we believe Salesforce.org is a strong offering to the non-profit sector and we have set out to explain it our Definitive Guide to Salesforce for non-profits which you can download for free here 

The full panel interview, including the live Q&A, with Lianne McGrory UK & Ireland Country Manager at salesforce.org and Rob Dobell Managing Director at Hart Square is available to watch back here 

 

Why we created our Definitive Guide to Salesforce for non-profits

At Hart Square we offer a wealth of services exclusively to non-profit clients and central among these is guidance and support if any are considering changing their technology. This covers a range of digital solutions, not the least of which is their CRM system.

Hart Square’s advice is completely technology-agnostic

We’re completely agnostic when it comes to the choices our clients make, but it is important for us to be fully conversant with the options available to them, so we spend a lot of time and effort researching the market and keeping in close touch with the many agencies who offer solutions to the non-profit sector.

The research we do obviously includes monitoring trends as reported or suggested, but also involves our own discussions with clients past and present, and across our extensive network of contacts within the sector.

We research solutions across an extensive network within the sector

As most people will be aware, since the early 2010’s the so-called platform solutions have competed with specialist proprietary providers to deliver systems to the sector, and the most well-known of those are Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics. Looking across the piece we see the strengths, and weaknesses, of platforms and proprietary offerings, and we work hard to help clients choose the right solution model so we delve quite deep into most of them.

What we’ve found over recent years is that whilst we’ve learnt and understood a lot about how Salesforce.org approach the sector, and we consider it to be a strong proposition for non-profits, this isn’t something which the sector as a whole has embraced to the extent we might expect.

The non-profit sector hasn’t necessarily embraced Salesforce to the extent we would expect

We decided to dig a little further, really to sense-check our own perceptions, and to make sure we’re able to give our clients best advice. That’s really the genesis of the idea for the Definitive Guide, which is our overview of the Salesforce.org proposition and is intended to help the sector make good decisions and achieve the best outcomes.

Whilst we’re completely technology agnostic, and frankly ambivalent, about the decisions clients make, we do focus on our ability to provide thorough and up-to-date information about the options they have, and that they make decisions based on fact rather than perception.

The guide covers the Nonprofit Cloud and is backed up by client case studies and partner profiles

So centrally the Guide itself covers the core Salesforce technology, the specific proposition for non-profits, the partner network and how it operates, and the AppExchange. Together these form what is referred to as the Nonprofit Cloud, and this is opportunity which is available to non-profits who do evaluate Salesforce,org as their CRM provider.

This is then supported by a series of case studies, membership body showcases and partner profiles

Really then what we’ve sought to do is to evaluate some of the perceptions and comments we’ve been given by our networks, specifically or primarily the more negative of them, to assess them against what we’ve experienced and what we understand about Salesforce.org, and to try to shine a light on the reality of the proposition.

On the back of that we still consider Salesforce to be a really strong offering for the sector, and we’ve challenged ourselves to explain how the model works so that non-profits have a better chance of understanding what the opportunity is and how they might get the best out of it.

Salesforce.org has a really strong offering for the non-profit sector; we’ve set out to explain it in the Guide

Hart Square’s Definitive Guide to Salesforce for non-profits was launched at our own chase.livestream conference, and is freely available to everyone within the sector who might have an interest in it.

You can download it from our website at Hart Square’s Definitive Guide to Salesforce for non-profits

 

Hart Square’s Definitive Guide to Salesforce for Non-Profits

At Hart Square we’re completely agnostic when it comes to the technology choices our non-profit clients make, but we’re deeply familiar with the options available to them. We spend a lot of time and effort researching the market and keeping in close touch with the many agencies who offer solutions to the sector. The research we do includes monitoring trends as reported (or suggested) but also involves our own discussions with clients past and present, and across our extensive network of contacts within the sector.

Since the early 2010’s the so-called platform solutions have competed with specialist proprietary providers to deliver systems to the sector, and the most well-known of those are Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics. Looking across the piece we see the strengths, and weaknesses, of platforms and proprietary offerings, and we work hard to help clients choose the right solution model for their needs, so we deep-dive most of them.

What we’ve found over recent years is that whilst we’ve learnt and understood a lot about how Salesforce.org approach the sector, and we consider it to be a strong proposition for non-profits, this isn’t something which the sector as a whole has embraced to the extent we might expect.

We decided to dig a little further to make sure we’re able to give our clients best advice. That’s the genesis of the idea for this Definitive Guide, which is our overview of the Salesforce.org proposition in 2020.